Do you feel like you are held hostage by the holiday season? Are you balanced precariously on the edge of sanity like the Grinch on the top of Mount Crumpit?
Well you are not alone.
Most people go over the top during the holidays – they over-commit, over-consume and overwhelm themselves with expectations. Instead of feelings of peace and goodwill, people often find themselves tired, cranky and powered by guilt. Their faces start to scrunch up into that Grinch-like scowl and fun is the last thing on their minds. Taking care of the never-ending to-do list becomes the number one priority. Then before they know it, the holidays have come and gone and January leaves them asking, “Is that all there is?”
Does that sound like you?
There is a way to de-Grinch yourself and steal back Christmas. You can take back control by trying some new and unusual ways to hijack the holidays.
Let go of your traditional time and energy drainer
I’ll bet that there is some holiday tradition that you have been holding on to just because it is a tradition. No one really likes it anymore, everyone groans or mutters under their breath at the thought but you suck it up and do it anyway. Let it go.
Now some of you are gasping at the thought – how could you possibly do that? I’m all for traditions – but only when they are rooted in meaning and everyone enjoys them. If a tradition doesn’t have much meaning anymore and everyone grumbles, let it go this year. One of two things will happen – everyone will miss it so much that next year they will revive the tradition with a renewed sense of enthusiasm – or everyone will breathe a sigh of relief and space opens up for creating some new tradition.
Give everyone on your list a very expensive gift
Well not any expensive gift. Give them permission to say no. Make a nice little card that can be traded at any time for a respectful, “No thanks.” It’s a relatively simple gift to give but it gets a little costly when the person cashes in their card. Quite likely they might say no to something you really want them to say yes to. That’s where the true value of this gift comes – your gracious acceptance of a boundary being set. No arguments, no negotiating, no whining. Just a simple, “Thanks for using your gift. I hope you enjoy it.”
Divide your time and money in half
Figure out your budget for Christmas – both how much money you spend and how much time you spend running around. Now divide them both in half. Spend half of your money and time on the usual things. There never seems to be enough time and money at this point in the year so spend half of it and don’t worry about it.
Take the other half of your time and money and give it to charity. Write a cheque to a cause you love. Then find out how giving half of your holiday time to someone who needs it is infinitely more rewarding. Charities have lots of tasks that need to be done – some that can be taken care of from your home – so there’s sure to be something that’s a good fit for you.
Recycle the one thing that no one will notice
I know many women who spend a lot of time – and money – in search of the perfect holiday dress. Wear the one you wore last year. Men do it all the time – they don’t run around looking for the next great black suit. Chances are last year’s holiday outfit was some version of the little black dress anyway. Unless you wore something revealing all of your earthly charms, I guarantee no one will remember what you had on. Save yourself the time, money and aggravation.
Give yourself the gift of a life time
We all love getting presents so go ahead and give yourself one that will last a lifetime. Chances are there is someone in your life – past or present – that you need to forgive. Carrying around the burden of hurt and disappointment takes a huge toll. Give yourself permission to forgive. You don’t necessarily have to say anything. This is a gift that lives in your heart. And it’s one with a double whammy. Whether you say anything out loud or not, you get the benefit and so does the other person. There’s nothing more priceless than letting go.
You know the Grinch figured out that the holidays are about intangible things. Sure, ribbons and papers and bows are nice, but after a while stuff is just stuff. Stealing back Christmas is about choosing to do something different. All the Who’s in your ville might be delighted.